Thursday, October 14, 2010

What I did During my Summer

By: K.D. Bang

I have been riding a motorcycle for the past 13 years. Currently, I have the nicest motorcycle I have ever owned. It is a 2008 1200 Roadster. I have always wanted to go to Sturgis, but being a wedding photographer my summers are pretty booked. This year I finally got to go. I had a two week break in August, and it happened to be when the rally was going on.

I started a list in my head of what I would need, then "Googled" what I should bring on long motorcycle trips. I got some great ideas, like a first aid kit and "fix a flat". I started getting small camping gear that would fit into the saddlebags I still needed to buy at that point.
I started a little pile of what I planned to bring, ordered saddlebags and then made another list.

It looked like this:
tarp, tent, sleeping bag, bedroll, map, passport and other important paperwork (I was going through Canada), first aid kit, Leatherman, fix a flat, camping burner with gas, toothbrush and toothpaste, knife, pepper spray, clothes, rain gear, duct tape, lighters, cell phone and charger, food (i.e. soup/granola bars), water container, camping towel, and of course, my wallet.

I let my friends talk me into buying AAA, of course I had to get the primo service because the others didn’t include motorcycle coverage. (This came back to bite me in the a** later.)

Of course I wanted either or both Merry Pain or Liv Dangerously to go, but they both have regular jobs (I am sorry) so it was just me… if was going it was going to be just me.

I had a rough time line, including a date to leave. As I got closer to the date I was leaving, I tried to make sure that everything fit in my saddlebags and back pack, as I would be living on a bike (or "the road") for two weeks. I planned to camp the entire time and had made a reservation in Sturgis, South Dakota for a camp site. I didn’t want to take highways the whole time so planned a 2,100 or so mile trip up and around through Canada; I had high hopes for this leg of my trip.

When the day came to leave I brought my dog over to Katastrophe’s house. She made the trip possible by watching him. I walked away with tears in my eyes and was resolved to leave. I hadn’t practiced packing my bike, (that’s not how I roll), so when it came time to pack, I was in some trouble… nothing seemed to fit right or wanted to stay on. Luckily, I have an anal-retentive roommate who came out to help. It took us about 45 minutes and the sky was getting darker because a storm was rolling in, but I was still planning on leaving. I got my comfy jeans, layered shirts, motorcycle jacket and boots on and off I went.

The plan was: I-87 north to Canada and then at Montreal, cut over to the left to go around Lake Superior. Aside from stopping to get my bags adjusted correctly, the first few hours were uneventful. Customs was fine; the standard stop, "What is your trip for?" Etc., etc..

Things got exciting when I got to Montreal. First of all, the signs are all in French, and as in most cities, are super confusing. I had my trip tick, which is impossible to read while driving a motorcycle. Plus, I couldn’t even read what was east or west, north or south. Coupling this with the nastiest looking clouds rolling in, I started to get a little nervous. After pulling over multiple times to look at my map and put on my rain gear, I appeared to be on a road that would get me where I needed to go.

That’s when it started pouring… outside Montreal… somewhere. If you have ever ridden a motorcycle on the highway in the rain you know it is sketchy at best. I couldn’t see, my feet were getting soaked, and I wasn’t any bit sure as to where I was.

I decided to pull off the highway at what looked like a truck stop. It was raining buckets and I wanted to try and wait it out. (Keep in mind it was my first day around 5pm and I was in a French speaking territory). When I got off the highway, I noticed that there was no cover, but then I spotted what looked like a diner and drove up to it. When I got close I saw it was A STRIP CLUB! I was like "F me! I am dripping, sopping wet, my stuff is soaked, I don’t speak French and it is pouring." Plus, I had just shaved my head and thought I could scare the locals.

Of course I wanted to go in the strip club, but I envisioned how I would look dripping all over their floor and being spoken to and not understanding. It is easy enough to spend all your money in a strip it off with not being able to speak the language! So I hunkered under the side awning and waited for someone to come out and yell at me. I waited about 30 minutes until the rain calmed down and then hopped on my bike, still soaked, but ready to find a campground. No sooner than I got on the bike and hit the throttle, it died on the way out of the parking lot.

"WTF, really? This is a 2008, it should have no problems," I was thinking.

So, on the side of the service road in front of the strip club in a French speaking territory, my bike broke down on my first day. All I was thinking was my roommate saying, “if you break down in Canada I can’t come get you.” Oh shit, I pulled my bike off to the side and thought about Ted Bundy and other serial killers that must have loved strip clubs while I tried to find a loose wire. I know a little about bikes so I fiddled around with it, but then I called triple AAA. I was so happy I bought that the day before.

When I finally got someone, she asked me "Where are you?"
"Uhm," I said, "I don’t really know."
I figured out some markers and she said "be right back," she needed to call my AAA home office to approve a tow.
"Ok, cool. Thanks," I replied.

Hahahaha! She came back and said, "I am sorry. Your home office has a 72 hour minimum as to when they will pay for a tow after you pay triple AAA."
"WHAT WHAT?!? No one told me that!" I was so mad, and stuck. I got super mad said, "nevermind" and resolved to deal with this problem. I had an idea: it was a short and I was going to go after it with my Leatherman.

I ripped the side cover and seat off, took the pig tails off and started touching wires.
I tightened the bolts, and holy s***! After 2 hours of being stuck on the side of the road and thinking my trip was over, she started! I quickly put it back together and needed to find a camp site! I jumped on the highway to find a place to figure out what I was going to do.

...To be continued...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2010 Season Recap, Part 9: The Finale

Photo by Rob Gierthy

Bout number 9 of a sixth month season arrives before the skaters can blink. On June 19th, EST takes on the Lake Effect Furies of the Queen City Roller Girls. The heat and humidity in the Armory are suffocating, but there is still a huge fan turnout. It seems the demand for sweaty bad ass ladies in booty shorts is always high!

The first period begins well and the Troopers manage to hold their own against the Furies. But the heat is close to dangerous and everyone on the track is sloppy, leading to lots of penalty time. A huge hit from Jenny Rotten and another from Isabella Bruisalini keep the opposing team's points relatively low.

Down by only 20 points at the beginning of the second period, low energy and more penalties plague the Troopers. Fancy footwork from Dottie Damage and the feisty attitude of Scarlet O’Hackya keep the crowd cheering the whole way through. But the second period ends with EST down by 45 points, now a substantial difference to be made up.

The third period is full of determination and hard work. Some huge point scoring jams from Dottie Damage, Katastrophe and Black & Blue Jean, each achieving two grand slams, help EST earn back those points but the Furies continue to score points as well throughout the third period, and EST is once again defeated, 142 to 93.

Six months worth of learning and fighting hard leave the Albany All Stars women fiercely anticipating the 2011 season, and we’re sure our fans are excited too!!

Favorite Moment: HUGE, legal hits from Merry Pain, Isabella Bruisalini and KD Bang, all of which get sent to the box anyway in a typical display of penalty profiling.

Highest Scoring Jammer: Dottie Damage

Monday, October 11, 2010

Check out this video of us against the Lake Effect Furies

The Queen City Roller Girls put up this video of our recent bout on their YouTube page. Thanks ladies!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Empty Bowls Fundraiser

(Outlaw Annie, KD Bang, B-Side Blaze, Brie, Sin & Tonic, Bones, Bruisalini, Patty Larceny, & Shart)

We all know The Albany All-Stars Roller Derby teams favorite nation is DONATION! And we love it when other people feel the same way! So on Sunday October 3rd The Empty Bowls Project was under way.

This is a fundraising effort put forth by a whole community to help the less fortunate in that community. The local potters in the area made bowls; the local restaurants made soup, and for $10 participants received a great lunch of soup and walked away with their hand-picked, hand-made bowl.

Your Albany Allstars were there too on their skates hustling 50/50 raffle tickets in order to increase the total amount of the fundraiser. This year the derby team raised $1100 for the raffle which is $500 more than last year's 50/50.

This past year the total given to the food banks of Troy was $28,700 up an incredible $2,500 from last year and surprisingly enough just 6 years ago, the first empty bowls event raised only $6,000. (a personal "thank you" to everyone that helped, The Collar City Clay Guild loves you!)

(Annie, Patty, Brie, Bruisalini, & Bones)

(Bones, Shart, Patty)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

2010 Season Recap, Part 8: The Infamous Fight & Forfeit

Photo by Rob Gierthy

Psyched for the opportunity to get a second win under their belts, EST trained with vigor in the month before the June 5th bout against the Jersey Derby Brigade. With only a 12 person roster, but feeling like a bona fide team, the troopers began this bout with confidence and pride.

Scarlet achieves lead jammer status in the first jam, whips through the pack with ease and calls it off right away scoring 4 points. Next up, Big Headed Honky zips by on the outside aided by the awesome defense of Kat, Betty and BJ. Honky scores a grand slam and calls off the jam. Dottie Damage and BSide Blaze score additional points while Liv, Jenny, Isabella Bruisallini and Merry Pain throw some big hits and form some tight walls, recycling incessantly in order to thwart the opposing jammer.

Our spirits are high and our confidence is growing. Every skater is in perfect sync when Honky steps up to the jammer line for the third time. The opposing jammer is quickly sent to the penalty box due to a huge back block on a Jenny Rotten & BJ wall in the front of the pack. BJ soon follows to the box for engaging a blocker outside of the pack.

Honky has since obtained lead jammer status and scored one grand slam. As she approaches for a third pass her way is impeded by the tackle of a Jersey blocker. Honky hurriedly tries to call off the jam but the blocker pins her to the ground where she is unable to move her arms. As the Jersey blocker finally sets Honky free, she lands a big sucker punch to the side of Honky’s face. Unaware of AASRD’s huge fury and loyalty to their teammates, the Jersey blocker is unaware that there is a Merry Pain steam roller approaching to defend her jammer.

Merry Pain leaps on top of the blocker who scrambles away just as Honky is recovering enough to lay a nice loud smack onto the side of the blockers helmet. All three women are ejected from the bout and after quite a few minutes of conference between refs and captains, the period resumes.

With more vehemence than ever, EST finishes up the next 5 jams getting lead jammer the majority of the time and scoring more than one grand slam. The skaters confer in the locker room, ready to take their huge 56 point lead to a satisfying and well deserved win. Instead when the ladies return to the track they are informed that their opponents have forfeited. And so EST accepts their win over the Jersey Derby Brigade, 69 to 13, in what will feel like a lack luster win and a waste of the potential and energy EST had been so excited to share with their fans.

Favorite Moments: When the opposing jammer spies Merry Pain coming in her direction and skates out of bounds in order to avoid the inevitable pain. When it was clear the bout had come to an end, the cheers and hoots from our fans made up for the disappointment for the disappointing evening.

Highest Scoring Jammer: Dottie Damage

Monday, October 4, 2010

LarkFest 2010!


Liz S., Smash 2 Pieces, Michelle D., Christine M.

Photo by: Brian Tromans

It's week later and we are still recovering from all the love from our fans. AASRD had a wonderful and successful time at Larkfest. We got some great new team name suggestions, some new fans (yay!) and maybe even some new roller girls!! (Don’t forget, recruitment night is October 5th, 7pm at 28 Thacher St.) We are also happy to announce the winner of our raffle for a ticket to EVERY AASRD GAME for the 2011 season is Darlene Dollar of Albany! Congratulations Darlene!!

Liz S. - Hyping people for the new season.

Thanks to all our girls, guys, and fans for making this event a fun success! We are already looking forward to next year!!!

(Special thanks to Jess Burns for leading AASRD's involvment in this event!)